When I talk to small and micro-business owners, I always ask them if they have a marketing plan. Their answer is invariably “no”.
So the next question, in exploration of that, is usually from them: “Why do I need a marketing plan? What I need to do is in my head, and besides, I’m stretched enough as it is running the business”.
I have to point out to them that’s really three questions and I deal with them one at a time. The first question is, as a small business, do I really need a marketing plan?
Of course you do. It need not be a large document, and in a small business you may not need to detail every item in a traditional marketing plan, but you do need a marketing plan, it should be written, and it should deal with the key concepts of marketing.
You need a marketing plan because running a for-profit business without a marketing plan is simply opening your doors and hoping for the best. Finding customers, increasing sales, meeting break-even and growing profits cannot be done while simply hoping for the best. Even if you had, in your head, a sure-fire way to find new customers, or sell more to existing customers, writing it down and sharing it with your team is the best way to relieve the lonely stress of doing it by yourself – they can help achieve those sales targets with you if they know what your sure-fire procedure was.
If you were taking your family on holiday, would you simply buy tickets to where you were going and just arrive? No, you would have some sort of plan that you share with them and some key bookings. So why would you not have a plan when your business’ performance and its livelihood is at stake? Without a marketing plan, you do not know who are your optimum market, the best way of getting to them and appealing to them, the resources you will need to service them, and what you need them to buy and when. Read More